Rose fashion guide in prep for Rose Parade

By Erin Flesh and Karen Vitt,
Portland style, shopping, trends.

By Erin Flesch and Karen Vitt, NEAT Rose City petal pickers

Spring fashion in The Rose City comes with a few thorns. We’re grateful for the citywide parade of sweet-smelling blooms and floral-filled fantasies of Portland Rose Festival (which is under way now), but we could do without the prick of this never-ending dreary June weather. This spring, however, Portland fashion is catching up to its rosy reputation. Despite less than desirable weather, the fashion forecast is bright, and no matter where you look local fashion is coming up roses.

From indie Portland clothing and jewelry designers to local boutiques and department stores shipping in national names, retailers across the board are offering up gardens of rose printed clothing, rose blooms trimming shoes and handbags, rosebud jewelry and rosy scented beauty products, giving our Rose City moniker more petal power than ever for Spring/Summer 2010.

Jenny Greenup, designer of the local line She-She Pdx and previous co-owner of Garment boutique on Hawthorne, has embraced Portland’s trademark rose and included the motif in her latest design, alongside the famous “Made in Oregon” logo. “It is a tribute to my love of Portland,” Greenup said, referencing her Oregon Rose tank top design (right, $25 at Union Rose boutique). “I love to incorporate Portland-ish things into my designs, and the rose was just begging to be on a shirt. When the roses finally bloom in the city, it just feels like Portland.”

And while Portland may lay claim to The City of Roses title, we can’t claim this trend is of purely local origins. Rose rage is slowly but surely hitting the entire nation. “I have seen more roses popping up in fashion lately,” Greenup confirms. “They add a nice girly touch that can spice up your outfit.”

We’re especially excited to see so many different variations on the rose theme, too. They’re turning up in unexpected colors, like the charming Victorian Blue Day Rose Garden earrings by local designer Irina Schaffer of Peapod Treasures ($16, top); in a delicate riot of English garden floral prints, like these retro ’40s floral rose shorts ($42) from the Le Train Bleu Portland Pop-Up Shop; and in slightly punky, tattoo-inspired rose motifs, like Amelia Blakeman’s screenprinted Hopeful Monsters City of Roses tank top ($15, right).

As rose adorned fashion continues to bloom through summer, we’ll assume it’s a subtle nod to the awesomeness of our pretty city. For locals who want to show some Portland pride, here are a few favorite local shops and designers catering to floral-craving fashionistas.

Christa-Taylor – The Rosy June Wrap Dress ($156) by local online retailer Christa-Taylor has been so popular in Portland shops this spring the designer is currently working on a reissue. We love this super-flattering dress for its retro feel, its bright, rosy floral pattern and a high neckline that’s easy to wear. Find it online now at or at Anne Bocci boutique in Multnomah Village.

Phlox – We love Barbara Seipp’s local line Issac Hers for its curve-friendly cuts and classic silhouettes. We especially love this wrap-style Sarah dress ($200), with its flattering tie around the waist and gorgeously huge rose print done in a purplish-red hue. Pretty and unique, it has everything you could want in a special occasion dress. 3962 N. Mississippi Ave. 503-284-1264.

Tumbleweed – This Mississippi mainstay has some perfectly romantic rosy pieces to wear in your garden this spring. Designed by Tumbleweed’s owner Kara Larson, this Kara-line rose tunic is done in a gorgeous cotton print that’s fun and flattering. 1804 N.E. Alberta St.; 503-335-3100.

Mabel and Zora – Embrace your inner panther (regardless of your actual age) with this Charlotte Tarantola Mrs. Robinson Rose Print Cardigan ($114). With a retro print, cool colors and thin ribbing throughout, you’ll be able to subtly draw in admirers both young and old, without going all Samantha on them. We recommend shopping during Mabel and Zora’s fourth anniversary party this Friday, June 4, when you can save 10 percent on all dresses – including this gorgeous rose print Weston Wear Floral Twistin dress. Mabel and Zora, 748 N.W. 11th Ave.; 503-241-5956.

Flora – Not surprisingly, this downtown Portland boutique is positively blooming with rose themed flora to fawn over, from books to fragrances and accessories. The ultimate coffee table book for any true Portlander, Roses: From the Archives of the Royal Horticulture Society ($16.95, by Peter Harkness) contains pictures, drawings and paintings of the most sublime rose specimens ever created. Also super cute, F.Y.I., is Flora’s Rose Business Card Holder ($33). 917 S.W. Washington St; 503-227-0586.

Anthropologie – Walking into Anthropologie on any given day is like visiting an English garden in full bloom. Duh, right? A veritable fashion bouquet of roses, we cannot ignore gorgeous picks like this sultry Midnight Roses Top ($68), the neon-colored silk Phosphorescence Skirt ($98) and the perfectly “Grey Gardens” Drenched Damask Maillot ($228). What the heck, lets throw in that Castile Rose bathmat ($38), too! Anthropologie, 1115 N.W. Couch St.; 503-274-0293.

Gypsy Chic Boutique – Whether you’re aiming for blatant sex appeal or sweet Southern Belle, Mississippi Avenue’s fun, funky boutique offers up some diverse rose floral finds. This retro-print, fitted Floral Island Dress is seriously sexy third-date material. Or slip into this sweetly seductive Southern Belle rose print sundress (right) and sip Mint Juleps on the porch all summer while you smell the roses. Gypsy Chic, 3966 N. Mississippi Ave.; 503-23-GYPSY.

Union Rose – With a name like that, it would be downright misleading if Montavilla’s local-loving shop wasn’t stocked with a few roseworthy accessories. Slip on rosy rings and headbands from Plume Jewelry, and shop for those cool She-She Pdx Oregon Rose tees and tanks we mentioned above. Better yet, come out for the shop’s First Friday Tees For All event at 6 p.m. this Friday, June 4 and save 10 percent on cute tees from She-She, Hopeful Monsters and more. Union Rose, 7909 S.E. Stark St.; 503-287-4242.

Hankie Tankie – You’ll never know what you’ll come across on, but chances are once you see it, you’ll wish you had thought of it first. One local PDX’er who claims to be obsessed fun vintage fabrics and French lace has struck fashion gold with her line of vintage hankie adorned tank tops. A brilliant addition to a simple tank, her Red Rose Romantic top ($22) is completely charming and comes with a removable bow in front. Aw.

We dug up more on-trend rose fashion finds than we can possible mention here, but it’s so hard to stop… You may also want to check out Betsy & Iya’s sweet sweet roses everyday earrings ($25), chocolate roses from Van Duyn Chocolates and delicate porcelain rose pendants from local label Verde Rocks. The important thing is just to get out there and smell the roses.

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